Tag Archives: hootsuite

#TBT with Ryan Holmes of HootSuite

The following post was originally published on Girth Radio on December 31 2015.

This podcast was originally recorded in May 2011 as part of the XConnect series.

Ryan Holmes is the CEO and founder of Vancouver-based HootSuite. What started as a simple social media dashboard has now grown into a billion dollar company. Take a listen to one of the early interviews with this Canadian startup success story.

How to block Promoted Tweets in your Hootsuite Twitter Home Feed

hootsuite, social media strategy


Almost everyone I know uses Twitter. What many of us disagree with is the change in user experience when it comes to seeing Promoted Tweets in your feed.

What is a Promoted Tweet? Well, according to the screen shot of a Google Search result, a promoted tweet is a feature that businesses pay in order to be promoted at the top of search results on Twitter.

Promoted Tweet
Promoted Tweet

Here is what a Promoted Tweet actually looks like:

Sample of a Promoted Tweet
Sample of a Promoted Tweet

I don’t mind that Twitter is using Promoted Tweets as a way of monetizing their product. Why? Well, it doesn’t impact the experience for me because it’s a native ad. Secondly, it helps to pay for a service that I enjoy using for free. Those that have a problem with Promoted Tweets are few and far between.

So, if you don’t like Promoted Tweets and you use Hootsuite (my preferred method of using Twitter on my desktop/laptop) here is what you can do to remove it:

Within the Promoted Tweet on Hootsuite you will see an “X”. When you hover your mouse over the “X” you will see the prompt “Promoted Tweets…” Click on the “X”. You will then have the following screen pop open:



Click on the “Hide Promoted Tweets” box as shown below. Save your preferences and refresh your screen. Viola! No more Promoted Tweets in you Home Feed.


Now you may enjoy your weekend.


Getting Started on Social Media

Recently, I’ve been asked a number of times how to help brands and companies get started on social media. Sometimes, these questions are being asked by companies not using social media. However, sometimes it also includes brands that have social media accounts, but are just not using them.

Here is my three-step approach to using social media effectively.  Note: For these three steps, I would highly recommend using HootSuite. Read my posts on HootSuite here.


What are people saying about your company, brand and industry. Learn what the conversations are like and who the people are. You will find influencers, thought leaders, friends and even enemies.  Like GI Joe used to say, “Knowing is half the battle!”

Get Involved

After you know who these people are and what they are saying, you are now prepared to say hello and enter the conversation. Be there to answer questions. And do not be afraid to let people know that you’re new to the social media game and are here to help in any way that you can. You will find that most people on social media embrace and appreciate honesty and authenticity. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.

Lead The Conversation

After a few weeks of listening and getting involved, you should now be ready to lead the conversation. It’s your turn (as a brand, company or independent business owner/professional) to be the thought leader and influencer. You ask the questions and provide guidance. Remember that you are the expert. Social media is just a tool to help engage with people to tell them your story as well as to listen how you can help others.

Try these three steps and let me know how things turn out.

9 Tools of the Trade

There are many reasons why a business owner and entrepreneur succeed: education, family, money, street smarts, friends, etc. There are also many tools of the trade that make success a little easier to come by. And they all can be accessed regardless of any of the above. Below are nine tools that I use on a constant basis that enable me to focus more on business and less on the struggle of building a successful company:

OrangeYYZ/Network Orange

Location. Location. Location. Having a place to call home is important when building a business. It promotes stability and allows you to focus on meeting prospects and getting things done rather than having to worry about where you will work that day. When we started our social media agency we used to work out of coffee shops and libraries. Although we are still small we have had our own office for more than a year now. Thanks to ING Direct’s community/coworking space at the corner of Yonge and Shuter in the heart of downtown Toronto. I have tweeted and written about OrangeYYZ/Network Orange numerous times.

As a location that allows me access to business tools (desk, scanner/fax, wifi, coffee and kitchen services, amazing staff!), meeting rooms and a prime location to hold meetings, OrangeYYZ and Network Orange have been a blessing to me and our business.

MacBook Air

I can’t believe I went a lifetime without a MacBook. Previously I was using generic laptops and notebooks. The speed and efficiency of my Mac Air has literally given me untold hours of life back.


I never realized how impressed people are when I conduct a meeting with a tablet computer rather than a laptop or paper and pen. In my line of business, first impressions count. And if I leave an impression that shows I am up to date with the latest technology and trends, then my clients and potential clients feel secure in working with me.

The plethora of great business apps also help too!


You’re not in business without a smartphone. IMHO.

Google Apps: Gmail, Calendar, YouTube, Drive

Where would many of us be without the “cloud”? Our ability to have our email, documents, and calendars accessible from any device, anywhere in the world is astounding. So much so that today, it’s a given and we don’t think of it as mind bending. I conduct a lot of business with Google apps.


The best social media dashboard hands down. This web-based product allows me to manage both my social media personal and business lives on one screen. From monitoring and moderating to creating content, HootSuite is my must-have social media tool.


As we grew our business there became a glaring need to use a project management tool to keep everyone updated and accountable. To the rescue came Trello. Trello is a simple, lightweight, yet powerful PM tool for teams as small as one and as large as you want. While Trello does have mobile versions, their web-based platform is the best.


Evernote helps me remember. Everything. It is my go to notebook on the go. I can input notes into my tablet, smartphone or computer and then access it from any of these devices. And because Evernote helps me remember, it makes me look smart!


Need to manage contacts and leads and don’t want to spend lots on a customer management tool? Want something simple, east and effective. Try using HighRise to keep you on the right track to closing those sales leads. I’ve been using it for the better part of 3 years and I must say that it is the most important business tool I use.  Without a pipeline (and a tool to manage this pipeline) any business will eventually dry up.

These are my 9 favourite business “tools”. what are some of yours?

Entering the conversation with HootSuite

After we listen to the conversations that are taking place online hopefully we will soon become comfortable. We will get excited about the positive comments and ecstatic about the opportunities we see. What about the negative comments. Choose to see these as opportunities to improve rather than hide your head in the sand. Hiding doesn’t make the negative go away even though we might hope they will.

Two things you should understand is:

  1. People move to social media to both congratulate and complain.
  2. People view a brand’s social media accounts (right or wrong) as customer service channels.

This brings us to entering the conversation.

Saying Hello:

Let people know who you are and what you do. However, don’t fall into the habit of spamming. I usually follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time you should be sharing interesting third-party content, RTing interesting content and replying to people online.  The rest of the time you can tell people about what you do and share with them your own content.

Positive Comments:

Positive comments give us the opportunity to receive validation on what we are doing and our industry. If someone leaves a positive tweet or Facebook comment regarding their interaction with your business make sure to thank them. A retweet (RT) or Like is not sufficient enough. Leave a comment thanking them for taking the time to leave a positive comment. And ask them what specifically they enjoyed. Even ask them to continue to use your service/product.

Negative Comments:

At our social media agency in Toronto we have the opportunity to work with many popular brands. Not too long ago, one of our long term clients underwent a rebrand. One of the changes was that the brand was open twice as long as they were before. Which means twice as many customers; twice as many happy customers; and twice as many negative comments. Our client could have shut things down and hid their head in the sand. Fortunately they understood the opportunity and have been engaging with everyone who leaves comments on their Facebook page or Twitter account.

Questions and Answers:

People will also have specific questions about your business. They may even have questions about your industry. Be open to answer all of these.

Listening with HootSuite

One of the reasons I started using HootSuite was so that I could keep track of specific conversations. At the time I started using Tweetdeck and then HootSuite I was working for a company whose clients were real estate agents. I understood that Twitter allowed me to promote and market my company and our services. What I also appreciated was the ability to follow conversations via “#hashtags”.  I call this listening.

Listening on social media can mean a number of things. For some it can mean literally listening to what people are saying in general or specifically about you or your brand/company. For me, it means this plus listening for opportunities to insert myself in a conversation.

However, using Twitter to keep track of mentions, specific people and conversations proves difficult. Which is where HootSuite comes in:

HootSuite helps teams engage with audiences and analyze campaigns across multiple social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ Pages from one secure web-based dashboard.

I started using HootSuite to track mentions in Canada of keywords such as #commission, #realestate and #advance. I noticed that there were many real estate agents using these keywords. And thus, there were opportunities to build trust with them and hopefully earn their business. Another thing that occurred to me was that I could also use these keywords to market our company too via what I call “marketing tweets”. These are tweets that are  pure marketing such as: “I have #cupcakes to sell. Come see me! #Toronto”

I wrote about using search in HootSuite on our social media agency blog not too long ago.

The simplicity behind HootSuite

I have been personally using HootSuite for more than 3 years. Probably closer to 5 years. I remember before HootSuite I was using Tweetdeck to send out tweets and keep track of certain conversations and people I was personally interested in.

However, for a number of reasons I soon switched over to Hootsuite to manage my personal online conversations. Ever since I have used HootSuite for work and business. And with all the other options out there (see HootSuite vs Buffer) I intend to continue using HootSuite and recommending HootSuite to anyone willing to listen.

For the rest of this week, I will write about HootSuite and it’s various functionalities. If you’re a professional or own a small business, this series is meant for you.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/43914561 w=500&h=281]

11 tools to help you get the most out of Twitter

Personally, Twitter has become my favourite social media tool. Although users are limited to 140 characters, we have come up with many ways to use this simple tool: whether it is using hashtags, embedding links to articles, photos or videos, or using the Direct Message feature.

Since it’s inception, many tools have been created to help people and social media agencies get the most out of Twitter. Here are just a few of them and what they do. If you know of others, please feel free to share them in the comments section.

In no particular order:

ReTweetLab – powered by HubSpot this tool is one of the most powerful I’ve come across to date. ReTweetLab takes a look at your last 1000+ tweets and analyzes them from everything to length, RTs, Day of Week, Time of Day and more.

Qlouds – the premier Twitter storage facility not owned by Twitter.

TweetReach – Want to know how viral that last tweet about Kim Kardashian you tweeted was? TweetReach is the tool for you.

HootSuite – I use this tool everyday to do everything from tweeting, RTing, searching for conversations and people on Twitter, and even to schedule tweets. They also provide social media analytics and a robust social media team workflow solution.

Buffer – An interesting tool that (via its free version) allows the user to schedule 4 tweets during the day at optimum times. The data they report back on helps you to understand which content is resonating with your followers.

TwitterCounter – the free version of TwitterCounter can help you track how many followers you’re gaining on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. And  you can also use this tool to compare yourself to Barak Obama or your next door neighbour.

TweetPing – Probably the “coolest” Twitter tool out there. Shows you a real life word wide view of who’s tweeting in real time. Kind of like looking at Twitter from Commander Hadfield’s view from the space station.

TweepsMap – Want to know where your followers are? This tool will report to you the city and country of where your followers reside.

TweetBig – Another Twitter tool that helps you manage your community.

Twitonomy – Twitter analytics tool currently in beta.

Metricly – Dashboard to track and analyze your social media data.

HootSuite vs Buffer

Earlier this month I conducted a non-scientific analysis comparing two social media publication tools: HootSuite and Buffer. To set the stage here are some facts:

  • The social media agency that I am a partner of is a paying HootSuite client.
  • I use HootSuite (not just for business) to publish to a variety of platforms including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • I use HootSuite to publish in real time as well as push out scheduled messages.
  • I have used the free version of Buffer (sparingly) to send out scheduled tweets.

I scheduled 10 identical tweets on both platforms between the dates of Monday, March 4 2013 – Wednesday, March 6 2013.

HootSuite’s schedule engine heavily loaded the tweets on Monday. Buffer scheduled 4 on Monday, 4 on Tuesday and 2 on Wednesday. Here are the results:

  • 4 tweets from HootSuite had no clicks.
  • HootSuite’s analytics (unless I’m missing something) didn’t share how many RTs or mentions the tweets received.
  • The 10 tweets sent through HootSuite’s scheduled feature received a total of 33 clicks; the highest tweet received 14 clicks and was about Toronto’s Community Managers.
  • Every tweet sent through Buffer received at least 1 click.
  • The average tweet sent through Buffer received 6.5 clicks.
  • The most popular tweets each received 12 clicks (Toronto’s Community Managers, Co-working Spaces in Toronto, and an interview with Gregg Tilston of Flight Centre).
  • The Co-working tweet also received 1 RT and 1 mention.
  • In total, the tweets sent through Buffer received 2 RTs, 1 mention and 65 clicks


Use Buffer to send out more than 4 scheduled tweets at once. The platform will ensure they are spread out evenly. What will I do? I will continue to use HootSuite. Scheduling has benefits (as seen above) but I also place a high level of importance on engagement, monitoring, moderating and searching for conversations and topics. These are things that provide me with personal and business value.